MIAMI COUNTY — Director of the Miami County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Kenneth Artz and Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp updated the Board of Miami County Commissioners on the ongoing storm cleanup and aftermath during their meeting on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a very fluid operation” Artz said.
Artz said the National Weather Service is surveying two other possible, unconfirmed tornadoes in the area of Kerr Road in Tipp City and south of Alcony where winds were estimated at being between 65-70 mph during the Memorial Day storms.
Artz said they are also planning on opening up a volunteer reception center in the Concord Township building. Times still to be announced.
“We’re having a tremendous amount of people wanting to volunteer,” Artz said.
Damage assessment teams will be headed back out to the areas affected by storms, including West Milton, Laura, and Ludlow Falls, to continue to assess the damage. Artz said they will be doing that Saturday and Sunday.
Huelskamp said the Miami County Highway Department will be out Friday and this weekend clearing affected roadways and doing brush and branch chipping for non-construction debris.
Commissioner Jack Evans asked what the threshold was for the county receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Artz said the county will have to reach approximately $370,000 worth of damage to uninsured homes and public assistance toward the storm damage response. The state of Ohio’s threshold is $17 million.
Artz said there is potential for FEMA support, but it would require a federal declaration which has not happened yet.
“We’re setting the stage. We’re getting the paperwork out,” Artz said.
In regard to construction and building debris from the storms, Artz said he and Huelskamp had discussions about creating an off-site dumping spot for construction debris, but Artz said it was “too early in the game” for that to happen.
“That decision has not been rendered yet,” Atrz said.
Huelskamp said later on their current priority is to clear the roads of storm debris, of which is mostly natural debris like tree branches.
Commissioner Ted Mercer brought up tipping fees at the Miami County Transfer station and asked, “These people that have been devastated, they’re going to have to pay $53 to have their debris removed?”
Doug Evans, assistant sanitary director, said they are giving people receipts so they may be reimbursed through insurance or other means.
Mercer later asked for a plan to be made for the construction debris, saying that volunteers who help collect it will want to know what to do with it.
“I think we just need to have a plan in place very, very soon of what we think we should do with that (debris) because I think that’s going to be a lot of the questions people are going to be asking,” Mercer said. “I think the health and welfare part is being taken care of very well. Now that we’re in the debris stage, well, what do we do with all of this? And people are going to want to know that. They’re going to want information besides us telling them to take it to the transfer station and keep the receipts.”
In other news:
The commissioners approved a number of improvements to county infrastructure on Thursday.
The commissioners authorized the purchase and installation of a new back door at the Miami County Communications Center. Bridgestreet Glass of Covington will replace and install the rear employee entrance door on the building at a cost not to exceed $3,613. The current door has been a security concern due to its difficulty in latching.
Later on, the commissioners also authorized concrete repairs to the entrance of the Miami County Job and Family Services building. Classic Concrete Design, LLC of Troy will remove existing paver bricks and concrete which have become a hazard at theentrance and replace it with new concrete. The cost is not to exceed $4,375.
The commissioners then authorized interior repairs to the Hobart Center, including masonry and window concrete header damage on the southwest corner. Bruns General Contracting of Troy will repair the water-damaged masonry and interior walls as well as seal it to prevent further damage. The cost is not to exceed $10,800.
The commissioners signed a thank you letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine “for listening to county budgetary concerns and addressing indigent defense costs” with what the letter referred to as “historic and impactful investment” included in the governor’s budget. The commissioners also thanked the Ohio House of Representatives “for further increasing the indigent defense appropriation by $35 million in that budget, which is expected to reimburse counties for their indigent defense costs. The budget still needs to be passed by the Ohio House and Senate.
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